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Virginia and Gardner-Webb Will Be The Most-Watched 1 vs 16 Game Of All Time


No. 1 vs No. 16 seed games can usually be kind of boring and a blowout. But after they suffered the worst loss in the history of the NCAA Tournament, all eyes will be on the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers to not blow it again when they face No. 16 Gardner-Webb in the first round of March Madness. Virginia was the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed in tournament history last year and should be plenty motivated to not let history repeat itself.

Gardner-Webb is making its NCAA tourney debut and opened as a 23.5-point underdog with a total at 130.5.

Gardner-Webb vs Virginia Game Center


  • Virginia has the top defense in the NCAA, only allowing 55.1 points per game and ranking first in opponent three-point percentage (27.2 percent) on 21.4 attempts per game (rated 137th).
  • In 12 games against non-conference opponents, Virginia was undefeated (9-3 ATS) and had an average win margin of 22.2 points per game.
  • This is Gardner-Webb’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament. In four games against Power 5 teams this season, the Runnin’ Bulldogs went 2-2 with losses to VCU and Virginia Tech and wins over Georgia Tech and Wake Forest.
  • Gardner-Webb ranked 215th in the NCAA in scoring defense (73.4 points per game) and is 140th in allowing opponents to shoot 33.8 percent from behind the arc.
  • Virginia is one of the best shooting teams in the NCAA, averaging 40.9 percent from three-point range on only 20.7 attempts (rated 243rd).
  • The total has gone OVER in three of Virginia’s last four games (avg. combined score: 133.25) and they have scored 70 or more points in five of their last six games.

My Best Bet for Gardner-Webb vs Virginia

Virginia -23.5

I normally hate taking huge spreads in the NCAA Tournament but this one feels like it could be a bloodbath. The storylines coming into this game will be so focused on Virginia’s loss last year that I could see the Cavs running up the score on Gardner-Webb just to shut everyone up.

But the real reason I like Virginia to win handily is defense and three-point shooting. Gardner-Webb allows opponents to shoot 33.8 percent from behind the arc and that was against some terrible competition. I’m fully on the Virginia national title train and I think the first stop is a butt-kicking of Gardner-Webb.